Friday, July 12, 2019

Arctic Hare

On our 4WD trip from Kangerlussuaq, Greenland out to the Greenland ice sheet, we saw two Arctic hares (Lepus arcticus). One was huge, but unfortunately we were not able to get our driver to stop so we could photograph it. I did get a photo of the other one. 
To survive in harsh living conditions it has shortened ears and limbs, a small nose, 20% body fat and a thick white fur coat. In lower portions of its range, such as Newfoundland and lower Labrador, the color of its coat changes in the summer, to remain camouflaged. Based on my photo, I'm guessing that the Arctic hares in this area also have some summer color change. 
It has a crazy distribution: far northern Canada, including Ellesmere Island, and Greenland. It is hard to imagine a more difficult living situation. 
Range of the Arctic hare: from Wikipedia. 
There are four subspecies, but I find nothing to differentiate them. I'm sure we saw the subspecies L.a. groenlandicus

1 comment:

  1. I don't think I've ever seen a rabbit as large as the second one we saw. Too bad we couldn't get the driver to stop.